ANAHEIM, Calif. — Packer staffers Greg Johnson, Pamela Riemenschneider, Amelia Freidline, Vicky Boyd, Mike Hornick, Tom Burfield, Coral Beach and Tom Karst collected these news items Oct. 27-28 on the Fresh Summit exposition floor.
Tom KarstFarm Fresh ProduceFARM FRESH PRODUCE: Touting a new 40-pound high-graphic box for sweet potatoes are (from left), Diana Ramirez, Farm Fresh Produce, Faison, N.C., Steven Ceccarelli, Farm Fresh Produce, Faison, N.C., and Bethany Ceccarelli, Farm Fresh Produce, Faison, N.C. The box was expected to be in production by mid-November. The new box for domestic sweet potatoes follows a recent redesign of the 6-kilo export box, Steven Ceccarelli says.
FAMOUS SOFTWARE: Famous Software, Fresno, Calif. highlighted new Famous Business Intelligence software, says Heather Hammack, sales manager with the company. The product, currently in limited release, allows customers to extract data from Famous databases to gain business efficiencies. Hammack says the Famous Mobile case-tagging system for harvest crews is gaining business, with one of the firm’s customers, Salinas, Calif.-based Pacific International Marketing, expecting to use the system with 75 of its field crews by the end of the year.
FIRSTFRUITS MARKETING: FirstFruits Marketing, Yakima, Wash., taste-tested a new, unnamed apple variety, as well as club varieties at its booth, says Keith Mathews, chief executive officer for the company. “We are in the third year on Opal and second year on Sweeties and both are doing very well,” he says. FirstFruits Marketing is continuing a partnership with Katie’s Krops and Katie Stagliano, Mathews says. Mathews says FirstFruits Marketing promoted its involvement in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
FOX PACKAGING LLC: A new eight-sided carousel bagger, tagged Ochopush, is being marketed by Fox Packaging, McAllen, Texas, says Ed Savigny, general manger of Fox Solutions LLC, Lockport, N.Y. The variable speed bagger can pack between 1-pound and 25-pound bags, and features a slip clutch operation that provides safety to operators, he says. Patents are pending on the $40,000 machine, Savigny say.
FRESH SOLUTIONS NETWORK: The Fresh Solutions Network, of which the Basin Gold Cooperative, Pasco Wash., is a member, introduced a number of products. Tray packs of three triple-washed, foil-wrapped sweet potatoes joined its Grillables line along with a new floor display that resembles a large propane grill, says David Masser, vice president of sales for Keystone Potato Products, Hegins, Pa. A tray pack of four sweet potatoes was added under the Heartland label. The network also rolled out Simply Spuds — sweet potatoes and five potato varieties in 1.5-pound microwavable steamer bags, as well as a floor display. They are all packed in light-blocking bags that slow greening and enhance shelf life.
Tom KarstFreshway FoodsFRESHWAY FOODS: Freshway Foods, Sidney, Ohio, has introduced a new romaine blend salad that is proving popular with school foodservice accounts, says Mena Ruggiero, director of retail sales. The mix, introduced late summer, is 80% green romaine, 10% red romaine and 10% greenleaf, Ruggiero says. The blend was created for one of Freshway’s distributors in South Bend, Ind., because it wanted a different salad for schools to meet updated nutrition standards. “The spring mixes seems to scare the children away, so we kind of did something different for them and it seems to be going really, really well,” Ruggiero says.
FRIEDA’S INC.: Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s officially launched its Stokes Purple sweet potatoes at Fresh Summit, says Alex Jackson, who handles sales promotions. The California non-GMO potatoes have a “vivid, bold purple flesh,” are high in antioxidants and available in 15- and 20-pound packages, according to the company says.
GOURMET GARDEN: Folson, Calif.-based Gourmet Garden is running a new promotion offering consumers a free cookbook with the purchase of two tubes of its herbs and spices. Margaret Laport, North American marketing director, says the book, “The Insider’s Guide to Cooking with Herbs and Spices,” features healthful recipes with a strong emphasis on using fresh produce. The first retailer signed up to run the promotion is Raley’s in California, Laport says, with others in the planning stages.
GOURMET TRADING: Gourmet Trading Co., Los Angeles, showcased tri-color asparagus packs at Fresh Summit 2012. The company offers green, white and purple asparagus in a Tri-Color pack for retail and foodservice operators September through mid-December, according to Brian Miller, vice president of sales. For foodservice, Gourmet Trading offers an 11-pound box featuring four bunches of green asparagus, four bunches of white asparagus, and three bunches of purple asparagus. The company also offers a one-pound bag of green, white and purple asparagus for retail, Miller said.
THE GREENERY: The Greenery’s Tommies Snack Tomatoes were one of five PMA 2012 Impact Award winners for excellence in packaging. A panel of judges looked at 78 submissions vying for the award. Justin Ruta, vice president of sales and marketing for Greenery North America Inc., Westhampton, N.J., says the Tommies Snack tomatoes are a high-sugar, low-acid baby plum variety. They are grown in Holland during the summer and Mexico during the winter, he says.
GREEN GIANT FRESH: A 10-ounce pouch of greenhouse grape tomatoes is one of 15 new products from Salinas, Calif.-based Green Giant Fresh. Many of the products offer Box Tops for Education coupons. New quick-response codes, for example on single-wrapped cauliflower, offer consumers information on growers. Green Giant Fresh packs in pouches and clamshells.
GRIMMWAY FARMS: Bob Borda, vice president of marketing at Grimmway Farms, showed off Simply Delicious Carrot Creations — in honey brown sugar and cinnamon, and roasted garlic and savory herb — which started shipping a week before Fresh Summit 2012. Carrot Dippers with ranch sauce is a bulk pack of five 2.5-ounce snack bags that started shipping for foodservice and retail around Nov. 1.
HLB SPECIALTIES: Lorenz Hartmann de Barros, director of sales for HLB Specialties, Pompano Beach, Fla., says the company is bringing in rambutans from Guatemala for the first time, with the season this year running from April through November. The company also has added avocados from Mexico and Peru this year, he says.
Tom BurfieldHollandia ProduceHOLLANDIA PRODUCE LLC: Carpinteria, Calif.-based Hollandia Produce plans to introduce Grower Pete’s organic living butter lettuce by the end of the year, say Pete Overgaag (left), president, and Vince Choate, director of marketing. The product will be sold in a one-count clamshell container and is similar to the company’s existing conventional greenhouse product.
IPPILITO INTERNATIONAL LP: Ippilito International has expanded its Queen Victoria microwavable artichoke line, with a two-pack that contains two microwavable bags. A visual aid printed on the bags helps consumers match cooking time to the artichoke size, says Butch Corda, general manager.
JACOB FARMS/DEL CABO: Pescadero, Calif.-based Jacob Farms/Del Cabo launched a Fair Trade line that includes bananas, specialty tomatoes, avocados, mangoes and limes. It also introduced Living Basil — living plants with the roots still attached that are packed in sleeves. The grower-shipper plans to introduce other living herbs, says Todd Smith, western regional sales manager.
JEMD FARMS: JemD Farms is offering its Artisan line of greenhouse beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes-on-the-vine and cherry tomatoes in clamshells with brown basket-weave-molded bottoms and clear tops. The Kingsville, Ontario-based firm also introduced greenhouse mini-cucumbers, tomatoes, grape tomatoes and peppers in modified-atmosphere packaging that helps increase shelf life, says Sabrina Pokomandy, marketing and public relations manager. Also, JemD Farms has individually packaged green, yellow and red bell peppers.
KEYSTONE FRUIT MARKETING INC.: Keystone Fruit Marketing has begun handling organic Mayan Sweets certified sweet onions from Peru. The Greenville, Pa.-based firm also offers bunched, thick grilling asparagus, and asparagus in 2.25-pound clamshells and 10-ounce microwavable bags under the America’s label, says Judy Shatzer, sales and marketing.
KINGSBURG ORCHARDS: Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg, Calif., teased expo attendees with a red late-season pluot that will be part of its Dinosaur Brand when it comes to market in about two years. “The retailers are very interested about extending their stone fruit season into the holidays,” says Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing.
KWIK LOK: Kwik Lok, Yakima, Wash., shows off its 901C printer that users can customize to print information, such as variety, harvest dates and traceability data, on Kwik Loks. The unit uses a water-based ink that is heat-set into the plastic closures, making it nearly permanent, says Gary Ellington, Midwest regional sales manager.
Pamela RiemenschneiderMann PackingMANN PACKING: Lorri Koster, vice president of marketing for Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Co., displays the company’s new vegetable trays that use a peel-off lid in lieu of the traditional black tray. Koster says the new packaging uses nearly 40% less plastic by net weight than the company’s current trays, and 50% less than others on the market. It also allows consumers to better see the product. The company is adopting the new packaging across the board, completely replacing the black trays. “This is the right thing to do,” Koster says. “It’s a sustainability win.”
MARIANI: Mariani Nut Co., Winters, Calif., has a new floor-ready display. It’s available as a half pallet or full pallet, says Matt Mariani, vice president of marketing and e-commerce. Designed by Trevor Ferruggia, the boxes show an orchard in bloom, and communicate to consumers where the nuts originate. The packaging launched in mid-October, Mariani says, and can include mixed cases of the company’s products.
MASTRONARDI PRODUCE: Kingsville, Ontario-based Mastronardi Produce has updated all of its boxes, labels and packaging with a more refined, modern label, Chris Veillon, director of marketing, says. The company also has a new slogan — “Inspired by Flavor.” The changes are part of the evolution of the Sunset brand, he says. The company markets a number of tomato, cucumber and pepper products, including One Sweet, Zima and Angel Sweet tomatoes in shaker clamshells that can be held under running water to wash the product in the container.
MISIONERO VEGETABLES: Lemony Blend and Wasabi Arugula Blend started shipping in September under the Garden Life label from Misionero. The arugula is mixed with spinach and lettuces. The other blend combines baby lettuces with a citrus herb.
MOUNTAINKING POTATOES: Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes is focusing marketing efforts on display-ready cartons and packaging that helps consumers get inspired to cook restaurant-like potatoes at home. John Pope, vice president of sales and marketing, says the company’s most recent consumer bags have an easy recipe with directions to get restaurant flavor at home, perfect for younger consumers who may not be experienced in the kitchen.
MUCCI FARMS: Joe Spano, co-owner, shows a prototype of a lunch-like bag for Mucci Farms’ mid-size tomato cluster, tentatively for a spring 2013 launch.
NATIONAL ONION ASSOCIATION: The National Onion Association and U.S. Potato Board are collaborating on a pilot program for co-branded retail totes, says Kim Reddin, industry and public relations director for the National Onion Association, Greeley, Colo. The size 7 bag from Package Containers Inc. has onion information and recipes on one half and potato messaging and recipes on the other. “Consumers are often on auto-pilot as they shop the onion and potato category,” Reddin says. “This will hopefully get them to stop and get inspired.”
Tom KarstThe Nunes Co.THE NUNES CO.: The Nunes Co. is adding a full line of organic items that mirror the firm’s conventional offerings. Starting in November, Nunes will expand its organics to include bunched kales, cilantro, parsley, chard varieties, Italian parsley, sweet baby broccoli and kale, says Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing and brand management for the company, Salinas, Calif. Seeley says Nunes has a sponsorship deal with the PBS’ “America’s Test Kitchen.” Seeley says Nunes is one of seven weekly sponsors of the program in 2013. Kevin Crossgrove (left), organic sales, and Jesse Gomez, product manager for organic sales, display organic romaine hearts.
OCEAN MIST FARMS: Kori Tuggle, director of marketing and business development, displays Ocean Mist brussels sprouts in a 1-pound microwavable zipper-lock bag. They’re also available in 2-pound cello club packs. The microwavable bag won a PMA Impact Award.
Coral BeachOneonta Starr RanchONEONTA STARR RANCH: Jim Guthrie (left), and Chad Hollibough, two of the export sales staff at Oneonta, Wenatchee, Wash., show bags of organic apples from Columbia Valley Fruit, Yakima, Wash. Kyle Fagg, domestic sales manager, says the apples are the first organic product Oneonta has handled. Fagg also says Oneonta will offer a new apple variety in two years that is a cross between a braeburn and a Honeycrisp.
ONTARIO GREENHOUSE VEGETABLE GROWERS ASSOCIATION: Chef Anthony Dalupan, executive chef at the Windsor Yacht Club, prepares samples at the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association booth. He says he prefers greenhouse vegetables to field-grown because of consistent flavors and textures.
OSO SWEET ONIONS: Brian Kastick, president of Oso Sweet Onions, Charleston, W.V., showed attendees the uniform size and shape of sweet onions the company offers year-round. He says Oso Sweet filled out its program with growers in Nevada and Peru, doubling its volume in the past four years. The Oso Sweets mesh bags in 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-pound sizes have PTI-compliant labels.